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Bartenders Tell Us The Best Scotch Whiskies For Fans of Citrus And Spice

Newcomers to Scotch whisky might not realize how varied the flavors can be from one bottle to another based on the barley, aging and finishing vessels, and the region it comes from. While Islay whiskies are known for their peaty, smoky, briny flavor and Speyside whiskies are more known for their honey and heather, two flavors seem to find their way into many bottles of Scotch whisky regardless of the region they were created in: orange peels and warming spices.

While vanilla, caramel, and even charred oak seem to get all the press, a bottle with a slight (sometimes much more than slight) hint of candied orange peel can really bring all of the flavors together. This is also true for flavors like cinnamon, cloves, and other spices.

Since these flavors are perfect for fall and winter weather, we decided the time was right to once again check in with our friends who bide their time behind the bar. We asked a handful of notable bartenders to tell us their picks for the best Scotch whiskies for candied orange peels and spice. Keep scrolling to see their picks and click on those prices to try one too.

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso
The Glenlivet

Mike Fayad, general manager at Hearth and Hill in Park City, Utah

ABV: 60.3%

Average Price: $95

Why This Whisky?

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso is my pick. I think it encompasses all of the flavors mentioned above. It has a pronounced spice component and isn’t lacking in its citrus profile. It’s mellow, spicy, and perfect for sipping on a cold fall or winter night.

Glenmorangie The Original 10-Year-Old

Glenmorangie The Original
Glenmorangie

Mohamed Khald, food and beverage manager at The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Florida

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $40

Why This Whisky?

Glenmorangie The Original is the perfect Scotch whisky for those craving orange flavors and warm spices. It’s exceptionally smooth and has delicious fall flavors of butterscotch, caramel toffee, and walnuts, but is still well-balanced with sweet and dry aromas.

Highland Park 10: Viking Scars

Highland Park 10
Highland Park

Ed Watt, bartender at Sabroso + Sorbo at The Notary Hotel in Philadelphia

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $87

Why This Whisky?

I enjoy Highland Park. It’s distributed nationally so you can look for it at your local liquor store. I’ve tried a few of them but do like 10-year-old Viking Scars. It’s filled with flavors of various citrus fruits and spices along with a mild smoky flavor.

The Glenrothes Maker’s Cut

The Glenrothes Maker's Cask
The Glenrothes

Lauren Parton, general manager of Devereaux in Chicago

ABV: 48.8%

Average Price: $79

Why This Whisky?

The Glenrothes Maker’s Cut is aged in sherry casks and is one of the sherry casked aged scotches that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves. You could use it with your favorite toddy recipe thanks to all the citrus and spicy notes, but I just like it neat.

Pig’s Nose Blended Scotch

Pig's Nose
Pig

Alex Barbatsis, head bartender at The Whistler in Chicago

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $30 for one-liter

Why This Whisky?

Pig’s Nose Blended Scotch whisky is a gentle scotch with nice notes of orange peel made from a blend of different five-year aged Scotch recipes from different regions. It’s nice to sip neat or in a Godfather cocktail with amaretto. Plus, the bottle has a cute pig on its label, so that’s always a plus.

Oban 14

Oban 14
Oban

Jess Collins, beverage director at Toups Meatery in New Orleans

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $95

Why This Whisky?

I love Oban 14 when it comes to citrusy pairings. It has a great orange forward full-bodied flavor. It’s a little malty and honey forward too, which pairs well with baked goods and desserts.

The Balvenie 14-Year Caribbean Cask

The Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask
The Balvenie

Christy Bradley, spirit guide at Virgin Hotels in New Orleans

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $85

Why This Whisky?

The Balvenie 14-Year Caribbean Cask is my selection. It’s finished in rum casks and you get some citrus but mostly honey, spice, and toffee which leaves you with a warming sensation. It’s worth every penny to me.

GlenDronach 12

GlenDronach 12
GlenDronach

Darron Foy, bar manager at The Flatiron Room in New York City

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $65

Why This Whisky?

GlenDronach 12 is a beautiful example of a sherried single malt that highlights citrus and dark yet light spices. It’s aged in a mixture of PX and oloroso casks for a truly decadent whisky. It offers a rich and complex flavor profile that will have you grabbing your glass for a second round.

Aberlour 16

Aberlour 16
Aberlour

Mallory O’Meara, bartender and author of GIRLY DRINKS: A World History of Women and Alcohol

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $95

Why This Whisky?

Aberlour 16 can’t be beaten when you’re looking for a classic whisky known for candied orange peels and spice. It’s filled with intense orange flavors with great spicy notes. It’s a wonderful combination of spicy and sweet that’s perfect any time of year.

Glenmorangie The Lasanta

Glenmorangie Lasanta
Glenmorangie

Lauren Navarro, head bartender at Apothecary 330-A Cocktail Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $56

Why This Whisky?

Glenmorangie The Lasanta 12 Year is an excellent choice for notes of spice and orange. It’s finished in sherry casks and has great elements of citrus, walnuts, and butterscotch.

Auchentoshan American Oak

Auchentoshan American Oak
Auchentoshan

Lewis Caputa, lead bartender of Rosina inside The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $50

Why This Whisky?

Auchentoshan American Oak is triple distilled which makes it very smooth to drink. The flavors that burst on the scene are orange peels and tropical fruits with a nice spice warmth.


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